Banding Together On Bandcamp.com

Cooking Wine
2 min readAug 11, 2020

Bandcamp.com is a music sharing, purchasing and social application that allows the artist to control the direction and parameters in which thier own music is discovered and spread. Beginning in 2008, Bandcamp successfully promotes further attention towards, more independent and non ‘big label’ artists. The popularity and wide spread use of online p2p music sharing available in the early 2000’s and the subsequent mass decline in hard music sales necessitated the appearance of online, profit based streaming sites.

Now we have Spotify, Apple music and a plethora of many multi national, and nation specific music sharing applications that all provide subscription based access to a near infinite amount of music. Yet these applications come at the expense of artist’s financial loss to large profit sharing, and a loss of artistic control towards the branding, marketing and spread of an artist’s music.

Bandcamp allows the artist to control nearly all parameters in concern of what price their music is bought for, how many times thier music can be downloaded, and who can access thier music and merchandising. Whilst this system nearly emulates peer production and p2p controlled environment, the necessity for administrative control allows for a better flow and commercial accessibility.

AFFORDANCES

As stated the creator control parameters made available by Bandcamp is an affordance rarely present in applications with such popularity and wide use.

We can recognise the governance of networks within a quasi p2p sharing environment, as the inexpensive and easily altered, or deleted nature of Bandcamp empowers self narrated ventures and interpersonal relationships.

This is made evident by the event of artist group’s boycotting and restricting the use of bandcamp until certain parameters or affordances were made availbale to the artist. Via this event we can see that the relationship and interaction of the users with the app itself determined the mode of governance over formally specified rules.

LIMITATIONS

Bandcamp does not attain as much wide-spread use and accessibility as Spotify, Apple Music, and music streaming platforms.

This is because the primarily recognised music streaming platforms strictly dictate and formulate the marketing, pricing and availability at a set benchmark. Whilst this is at the loss of artist’s profit margins, it does proliferate the music much further into the environments of the consumer.

The navigation and restrictions apparent within bandcamp, determined by the artist’s choice of availability greatly deters the end users experience, making it at times laborious to find artists and gain access.

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